On our last annual trip to London and in the same vein as last year, when we went to Bath, we decided to visit another city closer to London for about 24 hours and Brighton, where I have not been for about 30 years (giving my age away), was chosen. Looking for a hotel was a bit of a challenge as we wanted something close to the seafront and main attractions and then I came across this funky design hotel, My Brighton, which had a specialty coffee chain, Small Batch Coffee located within it. Surprise, surprise, I guess you know where we stayed.
Small Batch Coffee, 17 Jubilee Street and various locations around Brighton
So, lets’s start here. Actually a few years back when I first heard of Small Batch I ordered coffee online from them. In any case, we arrived late afternoon on Sunday and as I was in need of coffee, I decided to try their batch brew – Blue Note Filter – a combination of Guatemalan and Burundi arabica coffees. Unusual, because it is very rare, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen a filter offered as a blend. In any case, it was so delicious that upon my return the next day, I bought a bag.
So the next day, I naturally decided to start my espresso based coffee experience here. However, I must confess, I was a bit disappointed.
Yes, it looked well prepared but when I pulled back the foam from the espresso base, it was very milky and I couldn’t finish it – sorry Small Batch. I’m sure their better baristi would have poured and prepared a really good cappuccino but I didn’t think the staff present that day were up to their best. I observed the way they welcomed me and the way they prepared their espresso on the La Marzocco Linea and to be honest I would have been very impressed if the coffee had tasted good.
In any case I bought their coffee and you can too, online – see here.
Bond Street Coffee 15 Bond St. Brighton, BN1 1RD – Best Cappuccino in Brighton
So, after a not so pleasant milk based espresso drink, I walked literally around the corner to Bond Street, which reviews said offered the best flat white in Brighton. The reception was completely different. No quills, friendly welcome and attention to detail in preparation. Snacks on display, La Marzocco Strada.
In fact if you look at their website, a snippet below;
As our coffees will often have vibrant, subtle and complex flavours, including natural sweetness, we recommend that you taste your coffee before adding sugar.
To make our espresso we use bottomless portafilters with our Synesso Hydra espresso machine. This enables us to recognise when the espresso we’re making has extracted properly, thus enabling us to maximise the coffee’s unique flavour. This, however, means we can only serve our espresso or ristretto as a double shot.
We serve our espresso in a large, un-warmed cup as this allows the coffee to have a thinner layer of cremé, making it taste sweeter, while also allowing the espresso to cool quicker making the drink instantly enjoyable.
All milk based espresso drinks are served with latte art. We use whole milk from Downsview Farm in East Sussex which we heat to 55-60 degrees to bring out the natural sweetness of the milk.
Sounds pretty serious and I must say I learnt a lot “unwarmed cups to have a thinner layer of creme…” – something to try at home God willing.
So, I ordered a cortado.
Great caramel taste winding around my front and side parts of my tongue.
In fact, my initial plan was to finish my Brighton coffee experience here by buying a bag of Horsham Coffee, their coffee, to take home, but being so used to London closing times, I missed them by a few minutes, as they closed by 6pm. Check them out here.
In any case, after this wonderful mouthfeel experience, I was ready to see Brighton with my family and off we went to BA I 360.
Twin Pines Coffee, 11 St James’s Street – Best Pour Over Coffee
I must confess, initially I was going to go to another coffee establishment, Redroaster Coffee but when I asked the barista at Bond Street where I should try, he said Twin Pines, which I found out later was Brighton’s new kid on the block of Speciality Coffee.
So, after another traditional Brighton must do – Fish and Chips by the beach and gourmet ice cream, it was time for coffee again naturally. So, I kind of led my family back to the hotel via another route and as soon as my son said he needed the loo, I was like “let’s go into that coffee shop” oops, oh! it’s twin pines – another coffee shop on my list. “really dad, I’m sure you planned this” Guilty! Aha!
As you enter, on the left near the window, there’s a Three group Slayer machine – serious equipment in the house.
But as it was late afternoon, I opted for filter coffee, from James Gourmet’s Operation Red Cherry, prepared using a Hario V60.
I must confess it took a while to prepare, enough for me to go to the toilet and back, but it was definitely worth the wait. So good, that I bought a bag to take back to London and Vienna. I was really impressed with the attention to detail and the customer service and would highly recommend Twin Pines.
So, there we go 24 hours in Brighton drinking coffee and seeing the tourist bits too.